Are Skin & Hair Care Products Harming Our Oceans?
5 skin and hair care ingredients that are harmful to our oceans
1. Plastic Micro-beads
Micro-beads are tiny, non-biodegradable particles, often found in personal care products like exfoliating scrubs and toothpaste, they're too minuscule to be effectively filtered out by wastewater treatment plants. As a result, they enter waterways and oceans, accumulating in staggering quantities. Marine organisms mistakenly consume these microbeads, causing internal damage and potentially entering the food chain. Banning and avoiding products containing these harmful microbeads is a crucial step in preserving the delicate balance of our marine environments.
Alternative: Poppy seeds are environmentally friendly and biodegradable.
2. Triclosan (TCS)
Triclosan, a common antimicrobial agent, is present in various everyday products, ranging from antibacterial soaps and acne treatments to shampoos. While intended to combat harmful bacteria, its consequences on aquatic ecosystems, particularly coral reefs, are deeply concerning. Studies reveal that triclosan hampers the growth and development of blue-green algae, essential for the overall health and resilience of coral communities. The intricate symbiotic relationship between coral and algae plays a pivotal role in sustaining the vibrant biodiversity of coral reefs. Moreover, triclosan has exhibited detrimental effects on fish populations, with documented instances of increased mortality. Sustainable choices in personal care products can help preserve marine ecosystems, ensuring a healthier future for our oceans and the myriad species they support... including us humans!
Parabens are synthetic preservatives commonly used in cosmetics, skincare, and personal care products to extend shelf life by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and molds. Parabens have been associated with coral reef degradation and have been detected in marine mammals like otters and dolphins, posing risks, particularly in relation to reproductive health.
Alternative: Choose natural organic skincare that is paraben-free.
4. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)
Sulphate, added as a foaming agent in products such as shower gel and toothpaste, is non-essential and has the potential to induce toxicity in marine organisms, affecting their growth, reproduction, and overall health. Additionally, the foaming properties of sulphates may interfere with the natural surface tension of water, impeding oxygen exchange and further jeopardising the well-being of marine environments.
A common ingredient in many sunscreens, Oxybenzone has been identified as a significant threat to coral reefs and other marine life. As sunscreen users enjoy the sun, it washes off into oceans, where it can accumulate and lead to coral bleaching, a phenomenon that weakens and ultimately endangers coral reefs. The adverse impact extends beyond corals, affecting various marine species, from fish to invertebrates.
Alternative: Shade - All Natural 72% Organic SPF25 Sunscreen. 100% natural marine-safe sun care for all the family!
Written by Dawn Nelmes, Director.